Santa Fe, founded in 1607, is the capital of the state of New Mexico and its principal tourist destination, renowned for its confluence of scenic beauty, long history (at least by American standards), cultural diversity, and extraordinary concentration of arts, music and fine dining. With an elevation of 7,000 ft (2,100 m), it is not only the United States' oldest state capital but its highest, sitting at the foot of the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains. And with a population of about 85,000 (2019), it's not the most populous capital, but that's part of its charm. This is not a capital that bustles with politicians but one that bustles with tourists, who flood the narrow streets around the town's plaza in the summer months to take in the beautiful adobe architecture, the unique cultural heritage, and the spectacular art that make Santa Fe one of the world's top travel destinations.
Santa Fe was once the capital of Spain's, and then Mexico's, territories north of the Rio Grande, but its visible history extends far beyond the arrival of the Spanish; it is thought to have been the site of Puebloan villages that had already been long abandoned by the time the Spanish arrived in 1607. It became the state capital when the territory of New Mexico achieved statehood in 1912.
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